It was through an odd series of steps that I happened upon Anjelica Huston’s memoir, Watch Me. As a chronic “looker upper”–someone who is constantly looking up words, people, historic events–and even more intrigued when they are intertwined, I ended up checking out the audio book through our local online library.
Part of the third generation of a Hollywood dynasty, Huston has lived an extraordinary life. But the elegant, statuesque woman on the book’s cover was not always that way. Once upon a time she was a quiet, self-conscious teenager who had a lonely childhood and shrank in the shadow of her famous father. I saw proof of this while watching her first interview on YouTube. The composure that has become synonymous with Anjelica Huston was nowhere to be seen.
Watch Me is the second of two memoirs, and it picks up just when Anjelica’s life starts getting interesting. Still, it took years for her to carve her own way in the notoriously cutthroat arena of show business. Her last name opened doors, but it didn’t always keep them open, and it created huge expectations that, as a young actress, she couldn’t always fulfill.
As someone who had a fairly “normal” childhood, it was a bit daunting to hear the amount of famous people Huston has known. She has met and known people from the Golden Age of Hollywood to the modern day. Her 17 year relationship with Jack Nicholson is discussed at length, as are other significant personal connections that defined her as a woman and an actress.
By the end, though, I felt she was a friend who had just shared some of her greatest triumphs and saddest losses. She has a delicate femininity despite her strong appearance and she loves adjectives. Her voice trembles with emotion as she reads about her parents’ deaths and her husband’s final illness. You almost feel you’re reliving those moments with her. It’s clear she has no regrets, realizes the blessings and curses that accompany fame, and still holds on to the memory of loved ones with wistful nostalgia .